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Old 02-14-2021, 05:34 PM   #421
Alice
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Dry September is truly something else. It was awful to read. Made me feel things that I'm not sure writing has ever made me feel before. The real horror of this thing that people did and still do comes across in a way that history books and even photographs can't replicate. And it's all accomplished across the span of so few words. Will barely speaks but it's hard to imagine forgetting the impression his character made on me. If I ever had the chance to defend art from Plato and his stupid ideas about it this is the kind of thing I'd lead with. This feels unlike anything of Faulkner's I've read. I'm not sure what kind of reputation this story enjoys but I'd say it ranks among his best writing for me

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 05:49 PM   #422
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https://southinblackandwhite.files.w...-september.pdf

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 05:49 PM   #423
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In case my dumb post made you curious, you should read it rather than look up the wiki

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 05:56 PM   #424
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"Most of the critical attention given to language in Faulkner’s novels and stories has been devoted to matters of style. Language, however, interested Faulkner as a subject as well as a technique; the theme of the dangers inherent in the misuse of language recurs throughout his fiction. He draws on the traditional belief that the moral and spiritual degeneration of a people is reflected in their language: injustice and hatred weights words with destructive connotations, and irresponsibility promotes the unthinking use of words. Once words become distorted and emotionally charged, they themselves contribute to prejudiced thinking and automatic reactions by the force they carry and by their power to block out individual distinctions. Faulkner’s characters are frequently guilty of using words in careless and destructive ways; more often than not, language is a negative force in his fictional world. But unlike Beckett and Pinter, Faulkner refuses to give up on language; he does not ask us to accept Benjy’s silence as a solution. He argues instead that man has a moral obligation to use his language truthfully and responsibly. Although the picture of man speaking that Faulkner represents is largely pessimistic, he does offer pieces of a model of language rightly used."

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 05:57 PM   #425
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What say you of this, Netphorian readers? Have you given up on language or do you hold out hope yet?

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 06:07 PM   #426
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Or do you rather reject the premise entirely?

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 07:45 PM   #427
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that critic is being pretty classist. what was that written in the 60s or something? of course, faulkner is classist too so whatever

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 08:01 PM   #428
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1977. I figured that would come up and I understand why it has. I'm not sure if I see it though, at least in this short excerpt. Is your position that the argument is inherently classist?

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 08:22 PM   #429
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Of course there's always the danger of this kind of argument going in that direction. But I wonder if it's possible to suggest that there are destructive and irresponsible ways to use language without favoring the speech patterns of a particular group. I feel like maybe it is? And maybe certain recent changes in what used to be but is no longer considered acceptable use of language would support that idea? But it's certainly a complicated question that I don't feel is fully settled in my mind

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 08:24 PM   #430
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All I am saying is give peas a chance

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 09:04 PM   #431
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"He draws on the traditional belief that the moral and spiritual degeneration of a people is reflected in their language: injustice and hatred weights words with destructive connotations, and irresponsibility promotes the unthinking use of words."

sounds like "poor people" to me. like faulkner's snopes clan. tho faulkner would also put some slavers in the "destrictive/irresponsible" camp and some poors, like the mccallums, in the "moral and spiritual" camp.

i'm just not comfortable saying some uses of language are good and some bad and let ME tell you which is which. dont think faulkner would be comfotable with that either. he's just a storyteller.

also i feel like its kind of a boring claim. like "good people use good language, and bad people use bad language." like duh, right?

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 10:01 PM   #432
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Yeah I get it. Is that necessarily the claim though? "Good" people can use language badly and vice versa. I guess I'd have to read further before I felt comfortable with the idea that the author is saying all that you're suggesting they are.

Either way what interested me most was the bit about Faulkner as as a believer in the possibility of "language rightly used" as compared to Pinter and Beckett and skeptics. I'm not sure I ever really thought about Faulkner that way. But then I see stories like The Tall Men or Shall Not Perish and I wonder what, if any of it, is actually him. He certainly strikes me as significantly more conservative than either Pinter or Beckett. But yeah I would agree that he seems far more interested in storytelling than in ideas. I guess maybe he was just really good at understanding and conveying the inner lives of people in ways that inevitably connect to those ideas, whether they were of interest to him or not

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 10:02 PM   #433
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Better get that free JSTOR access and read up

 
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Old 02-14-2021, 10:07 PM   #434
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I should read the Snopes trilogy too. Flem seems like a character I wouldn't mind more of

 
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Old 02-15-2021, 06:11 AM   #435
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https://www.amazon.com/dp/0932551238...XCRFSZ2VR3MVQA

 
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:01 AM   #436
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alice View Post
Yeah I get it. Is that necessarily the claim though? "Good" people can use language badly and vice versa. I guess I'd have to read further before I felt comfortable with the idea that the author is saying all that you're suggesting they are.

Either way what interested me most was the bit about Faulkner as as a believer in the possibility of "language rightly used" as compared to Pinter and Beckett and skeptics. I'm not sure I ever really thought about Faulkner that way. But then I see stories like The Tall Men or Shall Not Perish and I wonder what, if any of it, is actually him. He certainly strikes me as significantly more conservative than either Pinter or Beckett. But yeah I would agree that he seems far more interested in storytelling than in ideas. I guess maybe he was just really good at understanding and conveying the inner lives of people in ways that inevitably connect to those ideas, whether they were of interest to him or not
I mean, who gets to determine when language is "rightly used?" I think that is my issue with the argument. One man's good is another man's bad. Faulkner knows better than anyone that language is an expression of perspective, and though he had certain political commitments himself, I don't think he would class his characters as either "using language well" or "misusing it." They're all just using language to express their own contradictory experiences. The excerpt feels dated because it's relying on older school critical apparatus aimed at deliniating "good and bad," rather than the newer school project of articulating how perspectives interact with each other.

Also, like so many literary-critical arguments, when you strip away all the posturing and big words and citations, the claim just isn't that interesting. "language can be used for good, or misused!" wooooaaahhh, no shit dude.

 
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:06 AM   #437
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Think about the first chapter of Go Down, Moses, when they're talking about "Tomey's Turl" and you think it's a dog or a donkey or something and then it turns out that he's a fucking human being. And only half-black, and a blood-relation to the whites talking about him, at that. And then, later on, it turns out that Buddy and whatshisname the brother are like, the most progressive plantation owners in the whole damn county.

I just think that the genius of Faulkner is displaying/unraveling those kinds of like, fucked up knots of social interaction in the south. Everyone is so deeply implicated in the evil that it's too reductive to read him and be like "well, some characters use language in degenerate ways, and some use language in good ways."

 
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